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Months after the arrest of his ex-wife, a Morocco ex-diplomat charged with visa fraud in New York

Months after his ex-wife was arrested, former Moroccan diplomat Abdeslam Jaidi has been charged with visa fraud by a New York court. He is accused of bringing Moroccan and Filipino workers to the US based on materially false documents.

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After his ex-wife was arrested earlier this year in a case in which he was mentioned as a third party, former Moroccan ambassador to the United Nations Abdeslam Jaidi has been charged by New York prosecutors with visa fraud, Reuters wrote on Friday.

According to an indictment filed in federal court in New York, Jaidi, his ex-wife Maria Luisa Estrella and her brother Ramon Singson are accused of bringing domestic workers to the United States, based on materially false documents.

Since 2006, they have managed to hire more than 10 workers from Morocco and the Philippines, using visa applications that «said the workers would be employed as administrative or technical staff at the consulate or Moroccan U.N. mission, and some included fake employment contracts», the same document said.

Moroccan and Filipino workers and false visa applications

Instead, these workers served as «technicians, secretaries, administrative assistants, personal drivers, domestic helpers, farmhands, and assistants in their Bronxville home».

Some of these workers had to work for long hours without days off and were paid less than $500 a month. They were also forced to hand their passports.

«This case sends a strong message that diplomatic immunity does not equal impunity», Martina Vandenberg, head of the Washington-based Human Trafficking Legal Center, told Reuters.

«Even high-ranking diplomats can be called to account if there are allegations of visa fraud and exploitation», she added.

The charges against the former Moroccan UN diplomat and his ex-wife and her brother were filed, Thursday, in the US District Court in White Plains in New York. The three were charged with «conspiracy to commit offenses and defraud and conspiracy to induce aliens to come to, enter and reside in the country».

Jaidi, his ex-wife and her brother can face prison sentences ranging from five to 10 years, respectively.

For the record, Jaidi’s ex-wife was arrested in March 2019 in the United States, while her brother is still on the run. After her arrest, the name of the former Moroccan diplomat was mentioned in a federal indictment.

The latter referred to Abdeslam Jaidi as a third person, who «was not named as a defendant in the complaint», and that he is «a diplomatic agent accredited to the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations (the Moroccan Mission) with the rank of Ambassador».

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